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February 2008
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Master Bath Project Episode 3

In order to set the pocket door, a small amount of the old flooring needed to come up. As I have mentioned before there are always surprises in remodeling.
Floor from Hell
This is the flooring in the MBP.
From the bottom to the top is the original slab, the original linoleum installed with ‘cutback’ adhesive, thin set mortar,and the ceramic tiles.
This turned out to be the floor from hell. I had to go over the floor three times to get to the slab. First to get the tiles up, secondly to get the mortar up, and finally using an electric jackhammer to get the linoleum and cutback up.

Why go to all this trouble? This is the right way to do this, for a couple of reasons. One is the vanity is going to be a counter with drawers, suspended between the walls for the shower and tub. (No base cabs to hide things. Two is to check the floor for level and to note any low or high spots that may cause water to pool as this is a ‘wet’ room. Third is being able to check the slab for cracks from settling, or any other irregularities, that would prevent the tile from being laid smoothly.

Shower Wall

Having removed the rest of the closet, the cultured marble sides and shower pan, the counter and cabinets from the old vanity, it was time to open the walls for a serious look at the plumbing. (Note: In the kitchen or bath, you always want to check the plumbing. If you have to replace or move it, you need to know what you are working with)

Vanity Wall Take 1
We have removed the drywall, and have a better idea of what we are up against. The bathroom is on an exterior wall. This is a slump block wall with 2×2” studs nailed in with cut nails. Some of these will require ‘blue screws’ to refasten the studs, and repair spacing as the plumber does his thing.
(Tech Tip: You can still get cut nails, but trust me on this, you try to refasten 20 year dry studs with cut nails, you will break the studs, and loosen what little grip the others have)

Demo to studs
Notice that the back wall is basically blank, but the shower wall with the light coloration is where the builder foamed the plumbing wall with urea formaldehyde foam. Why he did not foam the other exterior wall is a mystery for the ages. Also you can see that there was a bathtub originally in this location, The client had remodeled this room about 20 years ago.
Note that the copper pipes are playing peek a boo in the block wall.
Vanity Wall Take 2
The vanity area is interesting as there is a lot of foam surrounding the supply and drain. It gets better You can see evidence of a leak with the mold on the drywall, which was hidden by the cabinets, and you never would have seen it or been able to track it down, without going this far in dismantling the bathroom.

Removing the rest of the drywall and crap on the wall we now see this.
Demo behind old vanity
A closer look reveals that the last guy used spray foam and drywall mud as the clamping for the supply and drain line.
Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!
This is so bad on so many levels. Valve replacement, leak repair, pipe movement in turning off and turning the main water supply, and so on. You can see that there was a leak with the mold evidence on the sole plate under the drain. Notice that they had broken the block for the supply lines. The weird thing here is there was no insulation of any type in that area. Anywhere but the desert, these would have frozen and burst.

Discovered the clean out for the drains here, in the pony wall behind the tub. I can only imagine where the hell this goes.
Hidden Cleanout behind existing tub

The Comfort Station
Moving on to the other side of the room where the toilet will be going. Yes it is staying in the same location as moving a toilet in a concrete slab is a very big deal.

At this point we are going to break to plan our next moves.

2 comments to Master Bath Project Episode 3

  • Makes me glad the PO redid the plumbing/walls int eh bathroom! :) Good you know it all now, though.

  • You have my empathy- we feel your pain on unexplainable building choices! At our house, we’ve just stopped asking, “What the heck were they thinking?” because by now it’s just so clear that they weren’t. At least you know that YOU are doing it right! :)